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Mavs manager questions tourney shutdown

| June 19, 2020 7:42 PM

MISSOULA – Missoula Mavericks manager Brent Hathaway did not mince words after his Mavericks Memorial American Legion tournament was shut down by the county Friday.

In a city that has reopened its farmer’s market and restaurants and bars – with limitations – he was left wanting answers.

“Honestly I don’t understand the realm of the thing,” Hathaway told 406mtsports.com. “Because there’s already been a baseball tournament held in Missoula County. Nothing was said about it. We have a farmer’s market in the city, they’re open and running. We have a soccer tournament… it’s just crazy to me.”

The five-day Legion tournament was at its halfway point – and in a rain delay – when an email from the Missoula County Health Department arrived.

Mavericks’ general manager Ginger Claussen did not make the email available, but there apparently were concerns abouut social distancing with out-of-state teams and fans.

“I don’t understand it,” said Hathaway, who had teams from Spokane and from Sandpoint, Idaho in the six-team field. “I’m heartbroken for the kids, I’m embarrassed for our program.

“And the teams that came to town, I’ve got to go over and say, ‘Sorry, we shut it down. You’ve got to go home.’ ”

The public address announcer in Missoula directed fans and teams to exit the stadium between games so workers could clean and sterilize the seats and dugouts.

Teams playing a doubleheader were allowed to stay in the dugout between games.

Missoula County has not been hit as hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as other Montana counties, but positive tests are on the uptick across the state.

“I get it,” Hathaway said. “But our A team right now is playing in Gallatin Valley with nine teams, and out of state teams.

“They (Gallatin County) have the highest number of cases in the state and they’re able to play there while here in Missoula we have among the lowest cases and we can’t play.”